Indicator 100. Evaluative Wellbeing and Positive Mood Affect

Rationale and definition:

Measures of evaluative wellbeing capture a reflective assessment of an individual’s overall satisfaction with life. One of the most widely used measures of evaluative wellbeing is the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale, which is included in Gallup’s World Poll of more than 150 countries, representing more than 98% of the world’s population. It asks respondents to imagine a ladder with steps numbered 0 (bottom) to 10 (top), with 10 representing the best possible life for you  and 0 the worst. Respondents then respond with which step they feel they are currently on, and where they will be in 5 years.1

The Cantril Scale measures how individuals evaluate their own lives, and is complemented by the positive affect measure of “Positive Mood,” which measures the ups and downs of daily emotions. Positive affect specifically measures a range of recent positive emotions. Although short-term emotional reports carry much less information about life circumstances than do life evaluations, they are very useful at revealing the nature and possible causes of changes in moods on an hour-by-hour or day-by- day basis.2


By sex, age, and geography (urban/rural, region).

Comments and limitations:

To be reviewed.

Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair:


Primary data source:

Household surveys.

Potential lead agency or agencies:

In cooperation with polling organizations, such as Gallup International, and NSOs, the SDSN or the OECD could report the subjective wellbeing data.

  1. More information on OECD (2013). Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Wellbeing.

  2. Fo more details see Helliwell et al. (2013). World Happiness Report.